Date of Award

Spring 2020

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

First Advisor

Thomas L. Payne

Second Advisor

Ann J. Williams

Third Advisor

Clark Knowles


In my fictional story Demons, Nicholas Stryker has returned from a deployment to Iraq and is going back to college. The sister of a childhood friend in New York asks him to visit the family compound. Nick’s old friend, Tom, has been in and out of drug rehab. Tom’s sister Kayla suggests that Nick might be able to find the root of Tom’s inner suffering. Nick arrives in the scenic mid-Hudson Valley locale of Silver Spring, and immediately suspects that his old high school hockey coach has some history that he is keen to keep buried.

Nick is revisited by his own tortured dreams, about something that happened in the bowels of his old high school, involving both himself and Tom. The local power structure, plus some salty street level characters, throw obstacles up to hinder Nick in his investigation. Nick pushes forward, with Kayla’s help. When witnesses are threatened who are coming forward to assist him, Nick’s anger peaks and there is a violent showdown with the local thugs. Afterwards, Nick senses that there is one more piece of the puzzle that doesn’t quite fit. His instincts are proven correct, when the son of the former hockey coach materializes out of the shadows and demands a reckoning.

As a fiction writer, my intent is to use the template of classic hard-boiled detective stories and apply them to current events. In the tradition of Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane, my protagonists are champions of the underdog. Thank you.

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